Singapore to cut land transport emissions from 2016 peak by 80% by 2050: Iswaran

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Transport Minister S Iswaran addresses Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate on Tuesday, 8 March 2022 (SCREENGRAB: Gov.sg YouTube channel)
Transport Minister S Iswaran addresses Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate on Tuesday, 8 March 2022 (SCREENGRAB: Gov.sg YouTube channel)

SINGAPORE — Singapore has set a new target of reducing land transport emissions from the 2016 peak by 80 per cent by 2050, said Transport Minister S Iswaran in Parliament on Tuesday (8 March).

This will be driven by a cleaner energy bus fleet, measures to increase the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and the use of solar panels, even as land transport emissions peaked at 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2016, well ahead of the 2030 timeline.

"This is an ambitious goal that will require policy moves, new technologies, and behavioural shifts across our land transport system," said the minister, who was speaking during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate as the House addressed the Singapore Green Plan 2030.

Last year, the government unveiled a wide range of ambitious goals across five pillars to advance the national agenda on sustainable development. It will be spearheaded by five ministries – the Ministries of Education, National Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Trade and Industry, and Transport.

Singapore's land transport system is the country's third largest source of emissions, accounting for 15 per cent of national emissions today.

Cleaner energy bus fleet by 2040

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) aims to have a 100 per cent cleaner energy bus fleet by 2040, with 60 electric buses already purchased and deployed.

Moving forward, bus buys from now till 2030 will primarily be electric. By then, half of the public bus fleet will be electric buses, as LTA replaces more than 400 diesel buses that have reached their statutory lifespan by 2025.

In addition, taxi operators have committed that at least half of taxis will be electric by 2030. To support this, LTA will extend the statutory lifespan of all electric taxis from eight years to 10 years.

For private hire cars, half of the GrabRentals fleet will go electric by 2030.

HDB towns EV-Ready by 2025

In 2021, MOT announced plans to deploy 60,000 charging points across public and private carparks within the next decade.

Since then, said Iswaran, a major survey of the switchrooms and substations serving residential carparks across the island has given authorities the confidence to accelerate the process: every HDB town will be EV-Ready by 2025.

Currently, more than 80 per cent of electric car users live in private residences, many in condominiums and private apartments. New electric car registrations increased 18-fold from 100 in 2020 to 1,800 in 2021, accounting for almost 4 per cent of all new car registrations.

The minister noted that range anxiety is a commonly cited impediment, even though the average driver in Singapore may need to fully charge an electric car only once every five to seven days, given that most have a range of at least 300km.

"Nevertheless, this concern over nascent technology is understandable. To take the anxiety out of range, chargers must be widely available."

Within three years, LTA will deploy charging points in all 2,000 HDB carparks, with a minimum of three chargers in each carpark at the start and more to be deployed as EV adoption picks up pace. To this end, LTA will launch a large-scale tender for HDB carparks in the first half of this year.

LTA will also take the lead to progressively upgrade the required electrical infrastructure in all residential estates, to ensure sufficient electrical capacity to support EV charging. This will be financed by the agency through the issuance of green bonds, and the costs will be recovered from EV charging operators and EV users over the longer term.

"Upgrades will commence over the next few years and continue well into the 2030s," said Iswaran.

The public will also be consulted on new legislation to ensure safe and reliable EV charging.

Boost adoption of EVs 

INFOGRAPHIC: Ministry of Transport
INFOGRAPHIC: Ministry of Transport

With regard to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), the Category A Maximum Power Output (MPO) threshold for electric cars will be raised from 97kW to 110kW. This will allow more mass-market electric cars to come under Category A.

The MPO threshold for Categories A and B was set at 97kW in 2013, given the predominantly internal combustion engine (ICE) car population then. This threshold will continue to apply for non-electric cars.

This change will take effect from the first COE bidding exercise in May 2022.

Solar panel installations

To reduce carbon emissions and lower energy costs, LTA will also install solar panels on the roofs of new or recently-upgraded land transport infrastructure such as rail and bus depots, offices and facility buildings.

This will support LTA’s existing plans to achieve the solar energy deployment targets of 16 megawatt-peak (MWp) by 2025 and 25 MWp by 2030.

LTA will call an open tender to deploy solar panels on other land transport infrastructure, including the upcoming Integrated Train Testing Centre, pedestrian overhead bridges and covered linkways.

Through the open tender, 20MWp of additional solar capacity would be available, equivalent to the power needed to charge up to 285 single deck e-buses for a year.

Stressing that individual choices have an "indelible and enduring impact" on the country's carbon footprint, Iswaran said, "But beyond these efforts, the success of this green endeavour ultimately rests with each one of us, and the commuting decisions we make every day."

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